– Says pharma practitioners, regulators must collaborate
Indian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Importers in Nigeria (IPMIN) have called on the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to work together in providing an updated curriculum for schools of pharmacy in the country.
The association also urges the two bodies to include “regulatory pharmacy” in the updated curriculum to enable every young pharmacist understand the nitty-gritty of regulation in the pharmaceutical profession.
The General Secretary of IPMIN, Prasenjit Banerji, made this call during an interview with Pharmanews recently, stressing that the PCN needs to holistically sanitise the pharmaceutical industry and as well as make it conducive for all practitioners, so as to encourage increased involvement.
Banerji said: “I think it is high time regulatory pharmacy is introduced in the curriculum of pharmacy colleges in the country. This is because many pharmacists may not know many things from the regulatory point of view.
“If pharmacists understand regulatory in the sector, it becomes easier for regulatory bodies and companies to operate, but if people don’t understand regulatory, it becomes difficult for NAFDAC to operate. There is need to introduce regulatory pharmacy in the curriculum so that stakeholders and NAFDAC will be in one page. If NAFDAC is at ‘Y’ level and the stakeholders are at ‘Z’ level, then the industry will not move forward.”
According to the IPMIN Secretary, the current curriculum being used by most pharmacy schools in the country is outdated.
In his words: “Things have changed over time. So we can’t rely on old curriculums anymore. As I always say, ‘regulatory’ needs to be separate in the pharmacy curriculum in the colleges. PSN should make the curriculum of pharmacy colleges to be relevant with today’s reality.”
Banerji also stated that despite obvious signs that the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector has potentials for growth and advancement, dearth of required infrastructure has continued to be a clog in the wheel of its progress, which explains why the country still depends largely on importation of drugs.
“Local production of drugs has really improved in the last 10 years. Some companies are now manufacturing. Some companies were importing before but are also manufacturing now but infrastructural problems like electricity, road, and transportation among others, are not helping the local manufacturers. Even for importers, there are also challenges,” Banerji said.
The IPMIN secretary further stated that, having existed for over 60 years, the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry can do better than its present state, adding that the government must be more supportive through provision of funds and necessary infrastructure.
Ahead of the imminent 93rd PSN conference starting early November, Banerji urged pharmacists to maximally explore all the opportunities the conference has to offer.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Technological Revolution: Adaptation in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Pharmacy Practice & Regulation”, Banerji noted that the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector is evolving technologically, stressing that this requires that its key players upgrade themselves accordingly.
Banerji said: “The theme of this year’s PSN conference is apt and timely. Because the industry is evolving, people need to upgrade themselves technologically.
“PSN should also encourage the industry to grow by ensuring that the trained pharmacists are happy to practise in the country because many pharmacists that travelled out of the country are not coming back, which is not good for the industry.
“PSN should work with other regulatory agencies and press on the government to address the situation by making the environment more friendly than it is now. The government should take a holistic view at the pharmaceutical sector and take a holistic approach to develop the industry.
“The government should put measures in place to encourage local manufacturers. The government should also encourage local manufacturing of key raw materials.